How often have you sat down and listened to a sales person introduce their company? How did you feel at the time? a) Mildly Interested? b) Yeah, yeah – can we get on with it and get to the meat? c) Or did you feel inspired?
I have never surveyed this – perhaps I should and will – but I reckon that most of you will answer a) or b).
Yes – it’s a missed opportunity and a larger miss than many realise.
Its also interesting to note how big companies and entrepreneurs position themselves – because there are many times they’re polar opposites.
Sales people are attuned to what they think is going to most attract their clients. The pitch is usually predictable – bit of history, show their growth in the market, explain their results, the fantastic people they have working for them, maybe their aspirational, almost saintly, values and of course their unique differentiators. That thing that makes them different. A good pitch may leave the customer with the picture of a trusted reliable partner but do you get much beyond answer a)? Not convinced.
I get mildly amused when the entrepreneur (not all but many) stands up and does almost exactly the opposite. People buy two things in this world success and trust. And this is here how the story goes…
“It was the winter of 2015 and I was looking at the last things I had in the world. The clothes I was wearing and my gold fillings which I extracted and sold for 20 dollars. I had lost everything – I was tired, sick, depressed. I was as low as I could get. Then I discovered my incredible approach BBMS (“Bullshit, Bollocks, Make-believe and Snakeoil”). I never looked back. Now look at me. I spend 13 months of the year travelling, staying at 6 star hotels with pools which has the water that laps over the edge and then falls 10 feet into the sea. Oh, and did I forget to mention that I drive an orange Lamborghini which I park in the 2 acre garage of my 10 million dollar house which I paid for using the cash I made from my smallest deal of last week? And it was all because of BBMS! If you subscribe to my site and buy the magic oil you can be exactly like me. The only thing you need to do is remember how to breathe – because I guarantee it will get taken away by all the excitement generated by joining the beautiful and incredibly sexy people of BBMS.”
The strategy of “I came from nothing now look at me” works incredibly well if it is a) true and b) you are one of only a few people who tell their story that way.
Yes, I have exaggerated for effect, but there is a point there. One approach is solid but boring. The other attempts to inspire but often lacks authenticity. I am not taking anything away from those people who have truly come from nothing and succeeded – they get my utmost respect. But if you are not one of those don’t try to be.
So what is my point?
- I said that people buy two things mainly – success and speed. Actually that’s not true – its four: they buy success, speed, inspiration and trust. You can often get away without inspiration but if you have it you get speed.
- Every person and every company has a story that can be used to inspire. Find your story. People like stories but make it authentic, relevant and believable.
- Trust if often the forgotten ingredient. Sales people need to inspire trust. This is 20% inspiration (i.e. your behaviour and body language) and 80% perspiration (sheer effort at always putting your customer before yourself).
- Decisions of any size now often involve multiple stakeholders with influence or authority over what happens. Very often the first chance you will get to influence them as a collective is when you present who you are and who value you can offer. They will make a preliminary decision about you pretty quickly.
So what is your strategy when you present yourself and your company?
- How are you going to authentically demonstrate you can give them success in their terms not yours?
- How can you give it to them quickly enough?
- How are you going to inspire?
- And how are you going to start to gain their trust?
Set yourself a stretch target. See what you can do in 3 minutes. If you think about it hard enough it’s more than you think!